State constitution of 1776 to clergy: Stay in the pulpit

“The founders who crafted the original state governments… thought it was a good idea for ministers to stay out of politics.

“The state constitutions of North Carolina (1776), New York (1777), Georgia (1777), South Carolina (1778), Delaware (1792),Tennessee (1796), Maryland (1799), and Kentucky (1799) all banned clergymen from running for office.

“The 1776 North Carolina Constitution states that ‘no clergyman, or preacher of the gospel of any denomination, shall be capable of being a member of either the Senate, House of Commons, or Council of State, while he continues in the exercise of the pastoral function.’ ”

— From “Why the Founding Fathers wanted to keep ministers from public office” by John Fea at Religion News Service (Aug. 15)


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